Who needs a visa?
Anyone wishing to enter the United States needs to apply for and receive a visa except:
- Travelers eligible for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). See here. Malaysians are not eligible for the Visa Waiver Program.
- US citizens and nationals, including those who hold dual citizenship, may not receive visas, and must enter with a US passport. Most people born within the US are US citizens, even if their parents are not. (See here for information on applying for a US passport.)
- Legal permanent residents of the United States (LPRs or "green card" holders), or children born abroad to an LPR mother during a temporary trip, within two years of the birth.
- Citizens of Canada and Bermuda, traveling for certain purposes. See here.
- Citizens of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands, for certain purposes. See here.
- A small number of others, as defined in 22 CFR 41.1 and 22 CFR 41.2.
Entry into Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI): Guam and the CNMI are considered parts of the United States for immigration purposes. However, a new Guam-CNMI visa waiver program goes into effect on November 28, 2009. Under this program, citizens of certain countries, including Malaysia, may enter Guam or the CNMI without a visa for a period up to 45 days, for tourism or business purposes. Government employees traveling on official business do require visas. Some other requirements also apply. See here for details. (Before November 28, 2009, the Guam Visa Waiver Program allows visa-free travel to Guam only under similar conditions.) Transiting Hawaii or other parts of the U.S. on the way to Guam or the CNMI requires possession of a U.S. visa.
Entry into American Samoa: Visas are not required to enter American Samoa for up to 30 days. Travelers must have a valid passport, a round trip ticket, and sufficient funds for the anticipated period of stay. Travelers wishing to stay more than 30 days should contact the government of American Samoa in advance at:
American Samoa Government
Executive Office Building, Utulei
Territory of American Samoa
Pago Pago, AS 96799
Entry into other Pacific Islands: Micronesia, the Marshall Islands (including Kwajalein) and Palau (all formerly parts of the U.S.-administered Trust Territory of the Pacific) are now independent countries and have their own rules on entry and immigration. Contact their embassies or governments for information. However, transiting Hawaii or other parts of the U.S. on the way to these locations requires possession of a U.S. visa.
What is a visa?
Technically, a visa issued by a U.S. Embassy or Consulate only entitles the holder to apply for admission to the United States. An immigration inspector at the port of entry will determine the visa holder's eligibility and how long he or she may stay. The vast majority of visa holders are admitted without a problem, but to avoid inconvenience (and possible denial of entry) it is essential that visa applicants ensure they have the proper type of visa and be truthful about their intentions when applying for the visa.
Travelers born in the United States and those who hold dual citizenship with the United States must enter and depart the United States on their U.S. passports.
What type of visas are there?
There are two general types of visas:
Non-Immigrant Visas (NIVs) are intended for temporary trips to the U.S., e.g., for tourism, business, study, temporary work. Click here for information on different types of NIV and instructions on how to apply in Kuala Lumpur.
Immigrant Visas are intended for people who want to reside permanently in the U.S. Further information is available here.
While most people who apply for visas are qualified, there are a number of reasons a visa may be refused. Examples include criminal convictions, certain infectious diseases, misrepresentation in regard to a visa or immigration matter, and previous visa overstays. Further information on ineligibilities is available here. It is important that you reveal any potential ineligibility and answer the consular officer's questions truthfully. In many cases ineligibilities can be waived. We (or immigration inspectors in the U.S.) are likely to discover ineligibilities anyway, and if you try to hide the truth you will be found ineligible for misrepresentation.
Statistical information on both immigrant and nonimmigrant visas is available here.
Customer Service Statement
The Department of State manages the visa process strictly but fairly in order to best protect the United States. We are committed to the essential openness for which the United States has always been known. Travel to the United States is welcomed and encouraged.
We promise to you, the visa applicant, that:
- We will treat you with dignity and respect, even if we are unable to grant you a visa.
- We will treat you as an individual and your case as unique.
- We will remember that, to you, a visa interview may be a new or intimidating experience and that you may be nervous.
- We will use the limited time available for the interview to get as full a picture as possible of your travel plans and intentions.
- We will use our available resources to fairly assist all applicants to get appointments to allow travel in time for business, study, and other important obligations.
- We will post detailed and accurate information on visa requirements and application procedures on every Embassy and Consulate website.
- We will provide information on nonimmigrant appointment waiting times at every Embassy and Consulate posted onhttp://travel.state.gov/.
- We will explain the reason for any visa denial to you.
Furthermore, if you are a:
- Student, we will make every effort to ensure that you get an appointment and, if qualified, a visa in time to start classes.
- Medical and humanitarian emergency traveler, we will expedite processing for those dealing with life threatening emergencies.
- Business traveler, we will establish appropriate mechanisms to facilitate business travel and expedite cases of particular concern to American business.
At the same time, we expect you, the visa applicant, to:
- Plan your travel and visa application as far in advance as possible.
- Complete your application fully and accurately.
- Be forthcoming about your purpose and plans.
- Prepare for your interview by being able to clearly and concisely describe your intentions.
New and Noteworthy
Visa Quick Links
If you already know which visa you need, you may skip the informational sections of this Web site and go straight to the application steps.
All downloadable documents on this page are provided in PDF format. To view PDFs you must have a copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader. You may download a free version by clicking the link above.